Music Reviews



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Artist: R21 Vs. GROW
Title: Broken Machines
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: CHP Recordings
Rated: *****
Released last June on Adam Wilson's (aka GROW) CHP Recordings, this 5-tracker brings together 2 extremely talented electro producers: Adam, who's also responsible for last year's critically acclaimed album "Calculating Immortality" (CHP 003), last January's tremendous single "We Are The Anunnaki" (CHP 005) and a series of dope remixes for various electro labels, and Dave Mott (aka R21 or DjR21), the "man-machine", an electronic producer who needs no introduction, having already under his belt a couple of nu electro classics ("Atomic Breakdown" on Devine Disorder Records and "Minimum" on Binalog Productions), a bunch of great singles and EPs on Swishcotheque, DDR and BP, contributions on compilations by Crobot Muzik and Shameless Toady, as well numerous remarkable remixes and dj megamixes.
"Broken Machines" is written, produced and mastered by Dave, while Adam wrote and sang the lyrics. It is a melancholic electro tune, driven by a typical R21 Kraftwerk-ish beat and built around an obsessive bassline and wonderful chords and pads. Adam's vocals fit perfectly in the mood of the track, taking Dave's music one step further. The result is a charming, captivating track of unique beauty which is flirting both with new wave and electro-pop, in any case a nice surprise by both the 2 artists who usually deliver strong electrofunk tunes. Could be a succesful Depeche Mode single (i just can't resist to imagine Gahan in Wilson's place-sorry Adam!lol)
Original version seems to me unsurpassed, though there's also a couple of interesting alternatives (the "vocoder mix" and the "commanGROW mix", the first one true to its title lets the vocoder do the job, while the latter is characterized by strong beats and "computer malfunction" effects). I could live without the club oriented, 4/4 "tech noir electrik mix", while the addition of the instrumental version is an obvious and welcomed choice.
Overall "Broken Machines" is a little gem, definitely in my list of 2011's top tunes! It is available at iTunes, Amazon, Napster, Juno and many other digital outlets, but i suggest you support CHP and buy via their Bandcamp (http://growchp.bandcamp.com/album/broken-machines)
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Artist: EUGENE S. ROBINSON + PHILIPPE PETIT
Title: The crying lot of 69
Format: CD
Label: Monotype (@)
Rated: *****
I love spoken words, nay, I love good spoken word performances and as you can easily imagine Eugene Robinson vocals alone on this recording were worth the price of the ticket. The fact is that Philippe Petit has done a great background work for Eugene, therefore the whole effect is a mix of weird sounds and deep as fuck vocals. The french electronic musician has melted together a mixture of concrete noises, jazzy horns, scary dark ambient drones and post contemporary assemblages. Robinson's vocals float on this odd ocean of sounds as an apparently self bored Buckowsky alike reading that makes you feel like you still a kid listening to some scary tales. The chapters of this recording speak about modern obsessions, about real things. Differently from his previous releases with Oxbow, Eugene's voice is much more relaxed (and obviously also the music follows that trajectory) like it was some thoughtful post-coital conversation. There's something very crude in the stories here performed and even if the music is never that heavy it feels really cerebral and like it was coming from behind the twilight zone, that's why here and there it gave me the impression this recording was hiding some early industrial, Current 93, Nurse With Wound, Hafler Trio influences. Despite the many parallels I've been drawing during this review, this cd has a strong personality and brings back to life the old spoken performance formula with a new restyled image.
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Artist: MOLJEBKA PVLSE, CRIA CUERVOS
Title: Vid Vägs Ände
Format: CD
Label: COHORT RECORDS (@)
Rated: *****
An odd pair we should know quite well, infact on this very webzine you can read an inteview to Moljebka Pulse and at the same time we've been reviewing the majority of Cria Cuervos releases so far. Given the fact we're dealing with two top notch musicians, I had great expectations for what concerned this collaboration and I'm glad I've been disappointed by the final result infact in someway it puts together the best of the two works. As some of you could have guessed this work mixes two characteristic shared both by the italian and by the swedish musician and so here you have drones and soft non melodic and quasi-concrete sounds. The global work give the impression to sound as an oniric trip in which this organ like drones playing sad melodies lull the ship through the waves of memory. The two long tracks (about 24 minutes each) won't escape that post dark ambient edge both the artist have kept in their music. If the opening suite has that melancholic ambient feel the closing closing half reinforce the idea this quite sad feeling works as 'a trait d'union' between the two artists. If compared to their last releases I've listened this cd is softer and mellowed down to reach a more listenable level, infact even if despite heavy works they kept a certain amount of melody for what regards the music, this cdr could be accessible for a different range of listeners.
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Artist: Cultus Sabbati (@)
Title: Descent into the Maelstrom
Format: CD
Label: Buh Records (@)
Rated: *****
The title of this album came from a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. In the tale, a man recounts how he survived a shipwreck and a whirlpool. According from the linear notes this album is conceived as "a reflection in the aftermath of devastation". The style of this band a doom drone with sharp noises giving the desired atmosphere.
"Adrift at Sea" opens this release with a calm soundscape and a quiet guitar coloured by sparse noises. "Tempest's Edge" is an intro constructed by harsh noises and doomy resonances behing filtered vocals. "Mouth of the Beast" is based on the same structure but with more emphasis to the noises and the vocals, ending with "Walls of the Abyss" an more ambient track rhythmically coloured by sparse noise and the quite black metal vocals. "Beneath the Waves" is a noisy interlude to "Descent into the Maelstrom" with a quite intro similar to the first seconds of the opening track, o noisy black central part and a calm, with a little sorrow, end.
An uneasy listening but this record has the courage to escape the simple search for noise with a wide musical plan, almost an unique track than a record as the musical elements are well developed during all the phases. Could be quite a surprise for fans of black metal and experimentalist.
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Artist: Omega Lithium
Title: Kinetik
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact Records (@)
Rated: *****
Omega Lithium is a goth-metal croatian outfit, and this new record is, formally speaking, an exercise on the essential lines of this genre: good riffs, a danceable main line with hooklines.
"Colossus" opens the album with a solemn gothic intro ending in a classic metal riff until synth and vocal lines takes the scene. "Time of Change" is a well written track but revealing the influence of this band: a metal riff, a mid tempo and a quite seductive female vocal lines. The title-track reveal a quite cleaner musical direction with the use an almost new wave synth. This track mark the second half of the album that is more synth driven, "Salvation Refused" is a good balance of pop lines and power guitar while "I am God" uses also a male chorus to reveal the main influence of this band. "Cut Forget" is the most metal oriented track of this album with screamed vocals. "Pjesma" is a ballad that close the dance.
This is an album with nothing new to offer but brings some nice times hearing it.
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